On Saturday, 13 May, crowds of people gathered in Toulouse, France at the Jeanne d’Arc metro station for a Palestine Tour organized by the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, a member organization of the Samidoun Network. The Tour commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Nakba and affirmed our support for the Palestinian resistance as the Israeli occupation army continued to bombard Gaza.
During one speech at the Tour, an activist noted: “every year, on 15 May, we commemorate the Nakba – the 1948 catastrophe when 800,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed and more than 500 villages were destroyed or depopulated by Zionist terrorist militias to make way for their settler colonial project, ‘Israel.'” Speakers emphasized that the resistance has remained continuous for 75 years, continuing today for return and for the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea. The activist concluded his speech by holding up a key, a symbol of this right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees.
The Tour set off through the streets of Toulouse’s city center, displaying maps of Palestine and Palestinian flags alongside many signs and banners demanding the end of the blockade of Gaza, supporting the Palestinian resistance or calling for a boycott of Israel.
Arriving in front of the Primark store, participants expressed their solidarity with Gaza as an activist spoke, stressing that “as we speak, the Zionist occupation is continuing a new military offensive against the Gaza Strip, which has been under blockade for over 15 years. Faced with this attack, the Palestinian people have responded in a unified and collective manner to the aggression with their legitimate right to resistance!” Finally, she concluded her speech by paying tribute to the 33 martyrs who were murdered during the 5 days of this attack.
The Palestine Tour continued to the Capitole metro station where the street was packed with people on a busy Saturday afternoon. One activist reaffirmed “that today supporting the Palestinian people and their resistance also means supporting the release of the 4,900 Palestinian prisoners who are on the front line in the fight against the occupation.”
The speaker paid homage to the martyr Khader Adnan, emphasizing that his family is fighting today to recover his body which the occupation still holds, like that of hundreds of other Palestinians. In addition, he denounced the policy of medical negligence which affects many prisoners including Israa Jaabis, Ahmad Manasra or Walid Daqqah. During his speech, the activist also condemned the recent transfer to solitary confinement of Ahmad Sa’adat, Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh and Walid Hanatsheh and called for intensifying the campaign for the release of Georges Abdallah. Finally, the speaker called upon all to participate widely in the event on 16 May in order to hear the words of the lawyer and former Palestinian prisoner Salah Hamouri.
The Palestine Tour extended further to rue Saint Rome where participants continued to chant slogans in solidarity with Gaza and against France’s criminal complicity with the Israeli occupation. Stopping in front of the Foot Locker store, an activist from the collective promoted the international campaign to boycott Israel reaffirming “that today the Palestinian people call on the whole world to boycott Israeli and international companies that are accomplices of this criminal state. This is the case, for example, of HP, fruit and vegetable brand Jaffa Orri, Sodastream or even the Carrefour group.
In particular, she called for stepping up the boycott of PUMA which is sold in this store. PUMA, the German sports apparel manufacturer, is a sponsor of the Israeli Football Association, including several teams in West Bank settlements. PUMA concretely supports the oppression of the Palestinian people despite years of demands to end this shameful complicity. Marchers distributed various stickers and leaflets to people passing by and received widespread and vocal support.
The Palestine Tour ended at the Esquirol metro where marchers gathered in front of the German Consulate to denounce the recent ban on demonstrations commemorating the Nakba in Berlin. On this occasion, a Palestinian activist read in Arabic a message from Samidoun Deutschland stating that “today you are our voice! And you are a natural expression of the popular position of every Palestinian! If they oppress us in one city, we will take to the streets of ten other cities and express what the Palestinian people demand everywhere: from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”
Thank you to all the people and organizations (like Révolution Permanente and the Parti Ouvrier Indépendant) who participated as well as those who showed their support! The Collectif Palestine Vaincra regularly organizes actions and various initiatives to support the Palestinian people in Toulouse. Do not hesitate to contact the Collectif if you wish to participate and to follow CPV on its various social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Telegram).